Merit Image
Leave this field empty
Thursday, September 26, 2019
By Kellie McCann Photography
Pin It

What Makes A MERIT Image

If you read my last post on "What Makes A Loan Image" you know that I have been active in entering portraits created on my international travels to the Professional Photographers of America's International Print Competition.  I was trilled to have one out of three receive the highest standard of "Loan" however I do not want to forget that I still had two other entries that did merit in the competition.  The image pictured below, "Market Day" scoring an 82, did not go loan...however it did receive a merit and is one of the entries in the PPA General Collection.

A total of 5,245 entries were submitted.  Judged against a standard of excellence, 2,654 images were selected for the General Collection and 625 were selected for the esteemed Loan Collection—the best of the best. The Loan Collection images will all be published in the much-anticipated "Loan Collection" book.  Images will also be on display at the  PPA's Loan Collection exhibit at #ImagingUSA

Each year photographers from around the world enter images to be judged.  Many will shoot images specifically for this competition, however, I always choose to enter images that were created during my third world travels on personal projects as they hold a deeper meaning to me than my client work.  These images are some of the most challenging portraits I have ever created and love it when one may merit as the judging is rigorous.  Of course...the goal is to go Loan...but I'm very happy with the merit I've received.



Ivan Domazet, an IPC Juror with PPA comments in his IPC critique of my portrait image created in Hoi An, Vietnam, "Market Day":  "Really nice composition, nice juxtaposition here.  Color harmony, of course you nailed that right!"


Ivan continues in his critique, "Really like the use of the negative space here…space above her gives us a sense of size.  Got lots of detail where you need it, the sidewalks themselves and in the road, lots of texture.  I like how there is a wetness in the pots you get that good 3D feel from the highlight on the pot.  Your image is very well composed and perfect timing, I don’t think you could have asked for a better subject placement than this."  

He then explains why the image may have been dinged and not made the next category up which would had given it the opportunity to go loan. "The choice of an outer white mat presentation wise might be a little to stark for this...thing that this may be an image they if you carried out the gold tones it may have been bumped up."   

Ivan then goes on to say as he zooms in on the image (as they can not do this while judging), "Everything is so cleanly done here...if you did any post work…not saying you did…but if you did…its perfect, I don’t see any obvious evidence here…clone tracks nothing jumps out at me…there are no repeating patterns…no apparent dodging or burning…everything done thoroughly here technically very nicely done!"

"Congratulations…beautiful merited image…I'm sure its not your last merited image…I'm sure you will keep getting more of them..I'm sure if you haven't earned it yet you will earn your masters degree."


I'm very happy with this critique, even though the image did not make loan, it still received great recognition.  I personally do feel that judging an image and the possibility of bumping it down based on its matting is a bit of a challenge, as that is really a personal opinion.  I came from the school of photojournalism, ALL my prints back in the day were mounted and presented on a white archival matt (which I hand cut).  Now with the age of digital, to be so nitpicky about a matt color we are taking away from the artists hard work on what is really important...THE IMAGE.   I'm sure there will be many that argue with me, but that's ok, as it is my opinion which the color of a matt is also an opinion and we will never see eye to eye on that issue.

Hours of dedication and artwork was put in on this image, which clearly is noted above by the judge as being "perfect" and technically flawlessBut art is so subjective in the end. I myself was not visually comfortable with a colored border...I will try when the next time comes along, but I am still happy with my choice.

Each year I learn more through the process.  Looking forward to achieving my "Master of Photography Degree" hopefully in the next 1-2 years thru education and print competition.  Keep pushing myself forward!



Scoring for IPC outlined below:

100 - 95: Exceptional

94 - 90: Superior

89 - 85: Excellent

84 - 80: Deserving of a Merit

79 - 75: Above Average

74 - 70: Average

69 - 65: Below Exhibition Standards

Leave a comment: